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- Moving abroad can be a great way to embark on new career opportunities or new life experiences.
- It’s a good idea to do your research beforehand, considering money, cultural differences, language, paperwork, loneliness, and other factors.
- Below are 14 guides, travel blogs and memoirs to read before moving to another country.
For some people, there may be a silver lining to living through this pandemic: a renewed perspective of what you want in your life – or, more specifically, where you want to live when it’s safe to travel freely again.
Living in another country may have been calling you for years, or it could be a completely new goal. As remote work becomes more and more common, this can be an ideal opportunity to start researching whether going abroad is right for you.
But before embarking on a new journey, it is imperative to consider all that it entails and not just the glamorous fantasy of living somewhere else. I’ve lived abroad for eight years, so I know all too well the emotional component of being away from my family and friends. – birthdays, holidays, weddings and missing newborns; navigate cultural nuances and deal with bureaucracy.
I have met people abroad who, a few months later, throw in the towel. The reasons for going home early range from realizing how crucial it is to know the language to assuming that life will be like a more exciting version of home. But when you are in another country, emotions are amplified, and even mundane tasks, like grocery shopping or finding public transportation in a foreign language, can be difficult, lonely, and overwhelming.
Michelle Lara, 35, who has lived in both Spain and England, wished she had known more about recent immigration changes before moving abroad. As a Latino, she says “Being aware of racial overtones would have helped – [she] didn’t realize a few years ago, Spain had allowed entry to a lot of Latin Americans – that’s not a bad thing – and racism against Latin Americans had increased in the country.” She hadn’t expected that her appearance would affect how the Spaniards interacted and treated her. “My white American friends had an easier time being accepted than me because of their looks,” she explains. “I wish I had been more aware of that so I could be mentally and emotionally prepared instead of being caught off guard.”
Mikaela Ferguson, 25, creator of travelertraveler, was very prepared when she left Canada and moved to New Zealand in 2018 with the intention of staying there permanently. However, she hadn’t thought how much she would miss her family: “Although I loved my time in New Zealand, I ended up coming back to Canada because I realized how much I appreciate closeness to my family — my parents are getting old and I don’t want to be 24 hours away by plane.“
But sometimes the potential pains of moving really pay off and create a deep sense of belonging. Biche, 42 years old, creator of chick on the town, moved from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Montreal when she was 16 to study engineering, but when she was 22 she moved to Nairobi and has since lived in East Africa.
“Although I lived there for six years and received the education I intended to get, I very quickly realized that life in Canada was not for me,” she says. “The social distance I’ve experienced is largely due to being a visible minority (I’m a black woman). My daily social interactions, for the most part, lacked the social warmth that I had always been used to in different parts of Africa.“
If you’re intrigued by the possibility of moving overseas, below are several guides and memoirs to help you research, plan and prepare to take the leap – or simply determine if this is really what you really want to do.